We got the birds cleaned up for embark, made sure they had no invasive snails or whatever attached to them. Pretty sure the oil killed everything. Had a squadron cookout, steak! We were sitting around dividing folks up to ride home on C-5s and commercial birds, and found out the L-1011 we were assigned for the first flight out had 2 extra seats. The XO asked if anyone not going on the first wave had a birthday or anniversary this week, so I said "March 4th." So I got moved from the last C-5 to the first bird, a Delta air Lines L-1011. Gadget has an anniversary so he's on the list also.
We loaded up that evening, I have never seen a prettier airplane, a nice red, white and blue Delta bird lit up on the ramp like a Christmas ornament. The flight crew was lined up by the airstairs and we headed to the plane. The officers til the end to board, and to my surprise when we got on board the plane had been loaded from the aft end forward and we got Business class seats. I was right by the galley, woo hoo. Nice cheer when we lifted off and they fed us a lot heading to Germany. The flight attendants were stripping us clean of whatever mementos they could, wings, rank insignia, nametags, covers, even wanted our flight jackets. But we got steak for dinner, steak and eggs for breakfast, sodas but no beer.
Landed in Germany for a crew change and they had a beer tent there so most of the folks got off. We had to leave 2 gear guards on the plane so I volunteered to stay. Got to pick through the chow before it was offloaded and meet the new crew. They were super nice as well and we were invited to the cockpit once we got to cruise over the Atlantic that evening. I went up and thought it would be real dark, guys concentrating on flying and navigating, but instead all the lights were turned up and everyone was chatting. I made the rookie mistake of asking where we were and they were ready for me. The First Officer looked out the window into the pitch black and said to the Captain "Bob, where are we?" Bob says "I don't know. Fred, where are we?" to the Flight Engineer. The Flight Engineer says "Over the Atlantic" and they all started laughing. I made sure to get their names so I could drop my application with them one day.
Next we landed in Cincinnati. Everyone got out here so we could clear customs and we heard our old Gunfighter buddy Flash was there to greet us. He smuggled in a few bottles of champagne and we passed them around. I said "I've never been to Ohio" and he said "You still haven't." Then we headed down to reboard the aircraft and got stuck in behind a glass wall in the terminal boarding area. That was fun because every time a cute girl walked by the guys would cheer. Then when any woman walked by the guys cheered. And then there was a big cheer and I thought "She must be really cute!" Looked up and saw a guy pushing a cart with a beer keg on it and he was laughing.
Landed in El Toro and bussed down to Camp Pendleton. Great to be home, pups missed me.